Do you have a friend who seems to be able to get more done than anyone else you know. That person who is super efficient, always one time, and never seems frazzled?
Either that person has unlimited wealth and no children… or they know how to get more done because they make lists.
I’ll admit I’m a list person, so this comes easy for me. However there have been times when I’ve been super overwhelmed and I thought lists were just one more thing I had to do.
I was so wrong!
When I don’t write down (or type- it is 2019) the things I need to do each day I simply don’t get as much done.
This also goes for food. If I don’t write down what we are eating for the week, what we need to buy at the store, I ALWAYS spend more money at the grocery store and we end up with a few emergency trips to Chick-Fil-A for dinner.
But I know there are some of you who hate lists! It’s not that you don’t want to get more done, but you simply don’t like writing things down.
If I’m being honest it’s kind of hard to relate to you. 😂I love lists so much that I was making them when I was a little kid.
Remember when you were a child? You probably made a Christmas or birthday list.
Do you know why your parents asked you (or probably didn’t ask you, lol) to make a list?
Because there was no way they would remember everything you wanted if it wasn’t written down.
The same goes for life. There’s no way you can remember everything you need to get done each day or week if you don’t write it down.
If you HATE making lists I’ve come up with some tips to help you. You’ll get more done and save time and money in the process.
How to Get More Done (by making a list)
Use someone else’s list.
If the thought of creating a list is completely overwhelming, use someone else’s list. I’ve done this for years out of convenience.
I’m currently using the Ultimate Home Checklist for all our household chores. Why reinvent the wheel? (Right now you can grab it for less than $5 when you use the code HAPPY)
I integrate jobs on the checklist with other things I need to get done every day. The nice thing about a chore checklist is that your family can help complete those items on your list.
Take your list and cut it in half.
Chances are you over schedule yourself and while I feel like I have productivity super powers, I’m often staring at a half finished list at the end of the day.
I once heard a daily to-do list called a HIT list (High Impact Tasks). I have long term goals (reorganize all our books) and short term goals (repaint the dining room ceiling where we had a leak) however, the HIT list should be things that have to be done today.
Sometimes things from our long term or short term list end up on our HIT list, but not all tasks and definitely not every day.
Don’t forget the VIT’s.
VIT’s are very important tasks – things that NEED to be done today. These tasks go at the top of your list and are completed before the less important tasks on your list.
Schedule some quick wins.
Did you ever read your children the Frog and Toad books? In one of the books they make a list. On the list is “get dressed” and “make bed.” My kids always loved thinking getting dressed could be something they could cross off their list.
While it might seem silly to write shower or get dressed on your list, being able to cross off things immediately is a great motivator.
Start fresh every day.
Don’t skip this one.
Start every day with a new list. Don’t continue to add new things to the same piece of paper or spreadsheet.
If you have to move something to the following day it will help you evaluate how important it is to you. It might not need to be on your list in the first place!
Get more done by creating your list first.
This means you make your list before you check your texts, messages, or emails. Personally I recommend making a list the night before and here’s why.
Who is in charge of your day? You or the people around you? If you start your day checking texts, messages or emails, the things other people need/ want from you start to creep into your list. Sometimes this is fine, but if you are a people pleaser you will end up putting the less important tasks of others in front of the VIT’s of yours.
Ideally you make the list and “fit in” the desires of those around you. If you get caught up in email, texts, and messages, chances are they will determine your daily schedule, not you.
Add buffer time.
Margin, buffer, space, whatever you want to call it, it’s something most people forget about when making a list.
It’s always good to schedule an extra thirty minutes to an hour in your daily schedule. This allows for disruptions and also keeps you on track when things take longer than expected.
Most of the time when I don’t get through my list (or end up showing up late for something) it’s because I have no buffer time.
Also, when I don’t have any margin in my day, simple tasks that take longer than expected end up frustrating me to no end! I’ll find myself super exasperated over dumb things because they are taking too much time.
If I have extra time built into my schedule I can deal with the things that don’t go exactly as planned.
Eat the frog!
Have you ever read this book? (For some reason I’m focused on frogs right now.) If you haven’t read this book and you are feeling stuck – READ IT TODAY! It’s a short book and you should be able to read it in less than a week.
If you struggle with getting started, making lists, tackling overwhelming tasks, this book really simplifies it.
According to the book, once you’ve figured out your Very Important Tasks, do the thing you’re least looking forward to first. That way, you’ll get it out of the way early and have a great feeling of accomplishment.
You can get more done every day!
Just last month I was feeling pretty overwhelmed by all the to-do’s spinning around in my head. After talking to a few friends I realized I needed to sit down, make a list, and start getting things done.
The next morning I woke up with my list and immediately got to work. Within a few hours I had already completed over half the list. Thank goodness I did because on my way to the grocery store I received a text from my son that our second granddaughter was about to make her appearance into the world!
Because I had a list (and had already worked through a big chunk of it) I was able to spend the day at the hospital, while the rest of my family finished my list.
That day was a powerful reminder to me about how making a list impacts my ability to get things done on a daily basis.
Not only does making lists improve your productivity, it helps you focus on the right things every day. Getting through the things you have to do gives you time for all the things you want to do. And for me, that’s what matters most.